lifestyle / Personal / Uncategorized

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TW: Depression, Anxiety, Suicide.

This past week we lost two brilliant and creative souls – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. They were successful and beloved by many.  Still, there were so many ignorant comments made surrounding the nature of their deaths.

If you have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I suffer from GAD, and GDD. Mental health is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. That’s why it hurts me to my very core that so much misunderstanding still exists, especially when mental illness is becoming more and more prevalent. One of the common statements I overheard this week was “If they’re so rich how were they so depressed?” Here’s the thing: mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, any gender, any socioeconomic status, at any age.

So today I thought I would shed some light on some of the misconceptions of dealing with depression. By no means am I a doctor or any expert but by all meens, please read with a grain of salt. I also recognized that everyone’s experience is different. These are just my own, unfiltered thoughts and experiences.

“Depression is just a negative outlook. You should just think positively”

Absolutely not. In fact, whenever people tell me this, it just makes me feel like shit. In my experience, depression comes in different waves. Sometimes it’s not sleeping, or not wanting to go to work or not eating at all for days. It’s not an outlook, it’s a mood disorder. It’s my brain negating my self-worth.

“Why don’t you just take medication”

Depending on the medication, some will see results and others have to deal with side effects. I don’t know about you but I absolutely loathe pills. If you don’t consistently take them, you deal with withdrawal. I’ve written about how I stay positive, but it isn’t always easy. I don’t believe medication is the solution, but it is helpful for many, albeit unpleasant. Medication also isn’t a cure because it doesn’t always work the way it’s intended. The demons are always still there.

“Everyone gets bummed out”

Sure everyone has their ups and downs. A lot of people even get seasonal depression. Depression, especially chronic depression, isn’t just being “bummed out.” It manifests both mentally and physically. It’s almost indescribable, but for me it’s the opposite of living and thriving.

“Why don’t you get some help?”

Oh boy, if only you knew how hard it is to access mental health resources. No, I’m not talking about your run of the mill school counsellor. I’m talking about finding a compassionate psychiatrist that actually cares about your wellbeing and not just the mula $$$. Call me cynical, but I have yet to find a cost-effective solution for myself or my loved ones, and I doubt I will any time soon. There are so many instances where I, or someone I know has had to jump through so many hoops. In fact, during university, I recall being told that I could only see the psychiatrist once a month and the other visits had to be paid visits.

It’s hard to speak up when you have depression. In my experience, it’s my pride, shame and the life-sucking force that prevents me from communicating. I know I can’t expect family and friends to pick up on how I’m feeling, but I’m actively working to communicate when I need support. Of course, I think there should be communication both ways. It can be difficult to figure out when someone may need to talk, but we should always keep the dialogue open. Personally, my mental health has improved because I have a two-way dialogue with my brother. We constantly ask each other how it’s going. I think this is so important to have with any important relationship in your life. Kindness and patience is also a key. Having been on both ends, sometimes all the other person needs is to know that you’re there for them and you care for them.

That being said, let me end this on a positive note.

We are fortunate to be alive. We are fortunate to live another day and enjoy things we are passionate about. We are fortunate to spend time with the people we love. We are fortunate to experience so many different wonderful (and awful) moments. The world has endless possibilities and so many destinations. Life is worth living.

It can be hard but “memento vivere”

Remember to live.

Lots of love,

– Meens

Photo by Jeffery Li

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